Someday is the Busiest Day of the Week

"On the last day of the world, I would want to plant a tree." - W. S. Merwin Do you keep promising yourself that someday you'll make time for your creative project or something you really care about?

Please understand there will never be a right time and you'll never have more time than you have right now.

Someday is the busiest day of the week.

You might want to follow Poet W.S. Merwin's example and get serious about your passion project instead of frittering away time and talent on lesser priorities.

As Executive Director of the Maui Writers Conference, I had an opportunity to interview Merwin at our very first Presenters Reception. On a full moon night, under the palm trees on a Kapalua beach, I asked him, "What is one of the most important lessons-learned from your career?”

I'm paraphrasing here because I did not write down what he said (that’ll teach me) however the gist of his remarks was choosing to concentrate on his craft was the best decision he ever made on behalf of his career.

As the winner of a Pulitzer Prize, Merwin received dozens of invitations every week. He realized it would be oh-so easy to become part of the “glitterati” and that his work would suffer if he said yes to every request. He and his wife Paula were clear that continuing to live in NYC would mean they would continue to be surrounded by temptations that would pull him away from the work he was born to do. So, they moved to Maui to live a simpler life where he was freer to concentrate on his true priorities.

I thought, "There’s a man who knows what is important to him."

I’ve come to believe this is one of the biggest challenges we face as creatives. We are constantly torn between craft and commerce - between making art and making a living.

I've also come to understand that our environment either helps us or hurts us. If we are surrounded by distractions and demands, our dream projects may never get out the door. It is up to us to take charge of our circumstances so that, like W.S. Merwin, we can concentrate on what will matter in the long run.

Are you taking your creative contribution seriously? if you believe your work will add value, it's up to you to devote yourself to it instead of allowing yourself to waste time on lesser activities that, at the end of the day, won’t contribute to the greater good.

You may be thinking, “I agree with this in theory, but it’s tough to do in practice.”

Agreed. Which is it is so important to establish clear boundaries on what you will and won't focus on. Here are a few best-practice tips on how to do that (culled from my ConZentrate and IDEApreneur books). Hope they help you stay finish your projects and get them out in the world where they can make a positive difference for others and a prosperous living for you.

1. REDUCE time online. Many writers admit they are addicted to their digital devices. To what purpose? How much time do you spend online every day? When you look back at the end of your life, will those thousands of hours have made an enduring difference? Commit right now to policies with metrics. For example, vow to check email and social media only AFTER you finish writing instead of all day, every day. A study by MIT reveals we check our phone 140+ times a day. What a misuse of time that could and should be spent on completing higher-priority work that will have positive impact.

2. Wake and Work. Wake and Work means exactly what you think it means. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Get up, grab your cup of coffee or tea, sit down and apply what Power of One author Bryce Courtenay called, "Bum glue." Tackle other tasks only after you have produced something tangible (two pages?) to show for your efforts. The Psychology of Complettion says we get a thrill of achievement and a boost in self esteem every time we finish something. And, as you know, "rewarded behavior gets repeated." So, if every time you sit down to write, you complete two new pages, you set up flow and forward momentum and feel you're making progress. This feeling of accomplishment will make you eager to come back and pick up where you left off.

3. Find your Third Place. The science of Ergonomics (the study of how our environment influences our effectiveness) says your home is your First Place and your office is your Second Place. If you work on your creative project at your home/office, that’s your First and Second Place.

Ergonomic experts say it’s almost impossible to stay focused on creative projects in your First and Second Place because your environment keeps reminding you of the laundry, bills, client work or household chores you customarily do in that space.

Your Third Place (a nearby coffee shop? local library?) is a public place where you can work in private. Working there kick-starts creativity because it 1) it socializes your work process but without the downside of being constantly interrupted by people asking you to cook dinner or find their backpack. 2) Instead of stalling because you're operating in isolation, you get to piggy-back off the energy of people in the room.

3) Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? If working on your dream project is the only thing you do in your Third Place, it sets up a repeat ritual where the faucet of flow opens up every time you walk in because THAT's what's associated with that environment. Many clients tell me their Third Place is their saving grace. It is the only time and space where they can escape their job/family responsibilities and make their creative priority their top priority.

4. Reduce accessibility. Are people constantly asking to pick your brain? Do you find it difficult to say no when someone begs for your advice, support, time, mind or dime?

Mark off time on your calendar where you devote yourself to your creative project. Set aside certain days (every Tuesday?) where you are available for public appointments and activities. And, instead of letting someone buying you lunch or a cup of coffee, go for a walk/talk so at least you're outside getting fit.

You may worry you will offend people by taking yourself off the grid. You might want to ask yourself, “Am I supporting everyone else’s priorities at the cost of my own?”

it is our responsibility to think big and to think long on our behalf of our dreams.

What is the long-term cost of being available to others 24/7? I am not suggesting we become a recluse. W.S. Merwin isn’t a hermit; he is simply selective about how often he is accessible. He balances public requests with his dedication to his legacy work, which keeps the light on in his eyes and keeps him contributing at his highest level.

How about you? How will you hold yourself accountable for focusing on what will matter in the long run ... now, not later?

Joseph Campbell said, "The big question is whether you are going to say a hearty yes to your adventure."

Remember, someday is not a day in the week. How will you say YES to your adventure? How will you NOT wait to the last day of the world to plant your tree?

- - -

Sam Horn is on a mission to help clients create a quality life-work that adds value for all involved. Her books - including POP!, Tongue Fu, IDEApreneur! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? - have been featured in New York Times, Forbes, INC and on NPR and presented to NASA, Boeing, Capital One and National Geographic. Want Sam to speak to your group? Contact

SOMEDAY Quote #64: My Imagination Won't Turn Off. I Wake Up Excited.

Hollywood producer/director Stephen Spielberg said, "My imagination won't turn off. I wake up excited." Is imagination an active part of your life? Do you wake up excited about your day?

A client recently told me she grew up dreaming. Like me, she grew up in a small town. Books were her window to a fascinating world somewhere "out there" beyond the confines of her isolated mountain valley. She always knew she wanted to be an author when she grew up, and that's exactly what's happened.

Yet, she's a single mom these days and her time is filled with taking care of her two kids and dealing with school activities, sports, music lessons, homework, chores, financial concerns and everything that goes along with being a solo parent/provider. She writes when her kids are at school and sometimes after they go to bed ... if she can stay awake.

She has a contract for her next book, but the ideas aren't coming. She told me, "I'm too exhausted to think. I have so much to do, I don't have any energy left to be creative."

I told her, "Do you know we have mind time when we go to bed? Mind time is the 5-50 minutes we have to think before we fall to sleep. Whether you wake up exhausted or excited depends a lot on whether you're putting your mind time to work for you or against you.'"

I asked her, "What do you usually think about when you go to bed?'

She laughed and said, "I debrief the day, what happened with the kids. what didn't happen with my book. The next thing I know, the alarm goes off and it's time to get up."

I suggested, "From now on, put that mind time to work for you. Instead of mentally regurgitating that day, picture what you want to happen the next day. Imagine the kids getting along at breakfast and getting off to school on time. Imagine sitting down at your desk and the words coming so fast your fingers can hardly keep up. Imagine wrapping up for the day and feeling satisfied with your progress. I call that 'forward focus.' It's a better use of your brain because you're giving it a road map to follow."

At our next session she said, "Sam, that concept of mind time has made a huge difference for me. You're right. I'm going to be laying in bed anyway. I might as well focus on what I do want instead of what I don't."

How about you? What do you think about when you go to bed? I've found many of us spend our mind time worrying, regretting or resenting. No wonder we wake up exhausted.

From now on, spend your mind time imagining what you do want instead of what you don't. Debrief the day if you wish; just make it purposeful. What worked? What was meaningful, productive, satisfying? How can you do more of that tomorrow?

What didn't work? What was frustrating, ineffective? How will you do that differently tomorrow? Picture what you prefer in your mind's eye. Envision it unfolding just the way you imagined it. Put your brain to work for you instead of against you.

Want your dreams to come true? Imagination + action = ImaginACTION.

Promise yourself, tonight - and every night - you'll use your mind time to focus forward and envision what you do want so you wake up excited and raring to go.

Add some inspiration to your ImaginACTION by picking a favorite quote from the ones below. Then post it where it will stay in sight- in mind to remind you of the power of using your mind time - for good.

1. "A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities." - J. R. R. Tolkein

2. "Live out of your imagination, not your history." - Stephen Covey

3. "Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." - Harriet Tubman

4. "Imagination is the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not; it is the foundation of all invention and innovation." - novelist J. K. Rowling

5. "Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us.” - Robin S. Sharma

6. “Look closely at the present you're constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming." - Alice Walker

7 "There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love." - actress Sophia Loren

8. “When I am completely myself, entirely alone during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly." - Mozart

9. Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." - Victor Hugo

10. "So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable." - Christopher Reeves

11. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt

When Lupito Nyong'o won her Academy Award, she looked straight into the camera and into the eyes of millions of people in the television audience and said, "No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid."

Not only are dreams valid, they're -oh-so-valuable in turning what you see into reality. Summon what you want when you go to sleep so your dreams become inevitable.

Want more ways to put your mind to work for you?

Check out my books ConZentrate, What's Holding You Back?, POP!, Got Your Attention? and IDEAPRENEUR. Hope you find them intriguing, inspiring and useful.

stephen spielberg

Day Right Quote #60: Our Quality of Life Is Directly Proportionate to Who and What We Give Our Attention To

One time, while discussing how to keep our peace of mind no matter what in a Tongue Fu!® workshop, I put up a power point slide with "No one can make you unhappy or upset without your consent" ... an adaptation of Eleanor Roosevelt's quote "No one can make you FEEL INFERIOR without your consent." A gruff construction boss stood up in the back of the ballroom and said, “Sam, you’re pulling a Pollyanna with this one. You have no idea the kind of people I work with. Do you mean if someone’s YELLING at me, that’s not supposed to make me mad?”

A woman raised her hand and said, “I agree with this because I’ve lived through it.

I’m a surgical nurse. I work with a neurosurgeon who’s a bully. He's the most abrasive individual I’ve ever met. He’s a brilliant physician, he has zip people skills.

Last year, I was a fraction of a second late handing him an instrument in surgery. He berated me in front of my peers. He humiliated me in front of the team. It took all my professionalism just to continue with the operation and not walk out.

On the drive home, I kept thinking about what he had done. The more I re-lived it, the more upset I got. When I got home, I sat down at the dinner table, told my husband what happened and said, ‘That doctor makes me so MAD.’

My husband had heard this before. He said, ‘Judy, what time is it?’

‘7 o’clock.’

‘What time did this happen?’

‘9 o’clock this morning.’

He said, ‘Judy, is it the doctor who’s making you mad?’

And with that, he got up and left the table.

I sat there and thought about it.

I realized, it wasn’t the doctor who was making me mad. The doctor wasn’t even in the room.

I was the one who had given him a ride home in my car.

I was the one who had set him a place at my dinner table.

I decided that never again was that doctor welcome in my home or in my head. I was no longer going to give him the power to poison my personal life. From then on, that doctor was staying at the hospital and never again was I going to allow him to ruin my precious time with my family.”

Who do YOU take home with you?

Who do you give a ride to in your car?

Who do you set a place for at your dinner table?

Can you decide, right now, that person is no longer welcome in your home or head?

Can you get really clear that you are no longer going to give that person the power to poison your personal life?

From now on, can you leave that person at work (or wherever you encountered him/her) and never again allow him/her to ruin your previous time with your loved ones?

Our quality of life is directly proportionate to who and what we give our attention to.

Our peace of mind is in our mental hands.

There are many people who choose to show up with integrity, who choose to add value.

There are many things right with our world, many blessings for which to be grateful.

If we want a life where the light is on in our eyes, let’s give our attention to the blessings, not the burdens, to what's right with the world vs. what's wrong. Let's choose to focus on the people who act with compassion and treat others with respect, not on those who don't.

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Day Right Quote #47: The Wisdom of Life Consists in the Elimination of Non-Essentials

One of the keys to enjoying my Year by the Water was that I gave away 95% of what I owned. People ask if I miss any of it?

Nope. It freed me up to focus on what really matters and lead an even more #meaningful life.

Is clutter keeping you from concentrating on what counts?

Is stuff keeping you stuck?

Ask yourself what it costs in terms of time, money and energy to purchase, clean, repair and take care of everything in your home.

Is it adding value? Is it making you happier and healthier?

Or are all those "possessions" weighing you down, holding you back from the like you're meant to lead?

What would you be freed up to do if you eliminated some of those non-essentials?lin yutang

Feeling Grateful

Giving thanks isn't just for Thanksgiving. Research by Harvard shows it's not happiness that makes us grateful; it's gratefulness that makes us happy. So, why limit giving thanks to just one day a year? As Walt Whitman said, "To feel gratitude and not express it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it."

Many people have a tradition of unwrapping presents that have been stashed under a Christmas tree. The real presents aren't under the tree. The real presents are the moments we take to express our appreciation for our health, freedom and loved ones. what if woke up best

As this evocative image asks, "What if we woke up today with only the things we were thankful for?"

So it is as I wrap up 2016, I am filled with gratitude for this year that was filled with abundance in all its many forms.

I want to share my favorite quotes to remind us a gratitude mindset is the single best thing we can do to improve our quality of life. Feel free to print these and pass them around the table. Ask people to select a particularly meaningful quote and share what it means to them.

You and the people at the table could talk about politics, sports, the weather, plane delays, traffic and the food - or you could have a memorable discussion about the many blessings in your life, including who and what has favorably impacted you this year.

You’ve heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind?” You might want to post these quotes where you can see them every day, not just on holidays. Keeping them“in sight, in mind” (vs. out of sight, out of mind) can help you focus on - and appreciate - what's right in the world. And that's a win for everyone.

Gratitude quote #1: “When you drink the water, remember the well.” – Chinese proverb

Gratitude quote #2: “Make yourself a blessing to someone. Your kind smile or pat on the back just might pull someone back from the edge.” – Carmelia Elliott

Gratitude quote #3: “If the only prayer you ever said was ‘Thank you,’ that would be enough.” – Meister Ekhart

Gratitude quote #4: “There is no duty so under-rated as the duty of being happy. By being happy and grateful, we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Gratitude quote #5: “Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.” – Betty Smith

Gratitude quote #6: “When the eye wakes up to see again, it suddenly stops taking anything for granted.” – Frederick Franck

Gratitude quote #7: “When you give and carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, ‘Yes, this is how I ought to feel.'” – Rabbi Harold Kushner

Gratitude quote #8: “One of the very first things I figured out about life…is that it’s better to be a grateful person than a grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you’re grateful, you have more fun.”—Barbara Kingsolver

Gratitude quote #9: “Most of us are about as happy as we make up our minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

Gratitude quote #10: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” – Colette

Gratitude quote #11: “Unless people like you care a whole lot, things aren’t going to get better, they’re not!” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Gratitude quote #12: “To feel, think, learn and love; surely that is being alive and young in the real sense." - Freya Stark

Gratitude quote #13: In Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town, Emily longs to revisit one ordinary, “unimportant” day. When she gets her wish, she realizes how much she took for granted. “I didn’t realize all that was going on and we never noticed. Oh, earth, your’e too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”

Gratitude quote #14: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - John F. Kennedy

Gratitude quote #15: “Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never have enough." - Oprah Winfrey

Gratitude quote #16: "The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it." - Richard Bach

Gratitude quote #17: "Happiness is not a goal; it's a byproduct." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Gratitude quote #18: "Success is not about getting it done or attaining money or stuff. The measure of success in lie is the amount of joy you feel." - Esther Hicks

Gratitude Quote #19: “Normal day, let me aware of the treasure you are.Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may; for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth . . . or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” – Mary Jean Iron

Gratitude Quote #20: "The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you're the pilot." - Michael Altschuler

Maintaining a spirit and mindset of gratitude as we move forward - choosing to focus on and realize all the many blessings in our world - is a magical way to "pilot our time."

Sending best wishes to you for a happy, healthy new year that is everything you want it to be - and more. - - - - Sam Horn, Intrigue Expert and author of Got Your Attention? is on a mission to help people create collaborative communications that add value for all involved. Check out Sam's #TEDx talk on how to connect with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Five Ways to Focus on What Matters Most

As 17-time Emcee of the Maui Writers Conference, I had the opportunity to talk with Poet Laureate W. S. Merwin under a gentle night sky at the Presenters Reception of our first Maui Writers Conference. w.s. merwin

The private reception was held on a white sand beach under a full moon. I had just written a book on Concentration   and asked Merwin, (our opening keynoter),“How do you define concentration? How has it played a role in your life?”

He told me that understanding the importance of concentration prompted his pivotal decision to move to Hawaii. I’m paraphrasing here because I did not write down what he said (that’ll teach me …-)

The gist of his decision was that he and his wife Paula knew that continuing to live in NYC meant they would be surrounded by distractions and temptations that would pull him away from the work he was born to do.

As an in-demand winner of a National Book Award and two Pulitzer Prizes, every night brought invitations to readings, dinners and charity balls. Merwin realized it would be oh-so easy to become part of the “glitterati.”

Merwin concluded his work as a poet would suffer as a consequence, so he and Paula made a bold move to Maui to raise palm trees and live a simpler life so they could focus on their true priorities. As he so eloquently said:

“I love both the city and country. But when I was in the city, I thought about the country all the time. And when I was in the country, I thought about the city some of the time. So, now, I live in the country … and go to the city sometimes.”

There's a man who knows what is important to him. A man who intentionally created a life where he is freer to focus on his top priority. He removed himself from an environment that would pull him off track and intentionally sought out an environment that was congruent with being creatively productive.

I’ve come to believe this is one of the biggest challenges – and opportunities – we face as IDEApreneurs and entrepreneurs. Our environment helps us or hurts us when it comes to “taking our work seriously.” If we are in an environment that surrounds us with temptations and distractions, our SerenDestiny® project may get delayed and/or never get out the door.

What do I mean by SerenDestiny®? It is leading a life where the light is on in our eyes. It’s a result of doing what we love most and do best. It's what happens when we take responsibility for sharing our creative gifts with the world.

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Are you taking your creative career, SerenDestiny® project and legacy work seriously?

I’ve come to believe it is not selfish to sequester ourselves and become a less public person. If we truly believe our work will add value to the world, then it is up to us to stay focused on it instead of frittering away our time and talent on “lesser” activities that, in the long run, won’t contribute to the greater good.

This means setting boundaries and saying “No" to tempting requests for our time, attention and talent that won’t move our priority projects forward. You may be thinking, “I agree with this in theory, but it’s tough to do in practice.”

Agreed. Which is why I think each of us need to create clear, measurable policies about what we will and won’t commit to. Here are a few of my best-practice policies you can put into place to “Create A Cocoon of Concentration” to stay focused on what matters most so you FINISH it and get it out in the world.

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1. REDUCE time online. Check your digital devices ONCE in the afternoon and AFTER you finish work instead of ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.

A recent study by MIT reveals we check our phone more than 100 times a day.  That is a misuse of time that could and should be spent on completing higher-priority work that will add value in the world.

2. Devote the morning to your SerenDestiny® project. I call this WAKE AND WORK.

Wake and Work means exactly what you think it means. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Don’t watch the news. Get up, walk the dog, grab your cup of coffee or tea … and then GET TO WORK.

Devoting your early-morning-energy to SerenDestiny® projects leverages that clarity that only comes when you’re not juggling multiple tasks. Tackle other tasks only after you have something tangible (two pages?) to show for your efforts. This sets up a feeling of accomplishment that makes you eager to come back and pick up where you left off.

3. Find Your Third Place.

The science of Ergonomics (the study of how our environment influences our effectiveness) states that your home is your First Place and your office is your Second Place. If you run a business out of your home, that’s your First and Second Place.

Ergonomic experts say it’s almost impossible to stay focused on creative projects in your First and Second Place because your environment keeps reminding you of the household chores or work tasks you customarily do in that space.

Your Third Place (i.e., a nearby coffee shop or a table in the back of your local library) is a public place where you get to work in private … in public. Instead of looking at a blank page and stalling because you have no energy, you get to piggy-back off the energy of others in the room. You’re more likely to achieve that sublime stream-of-conscious state of FLOW where you’re blissfully immersed in your project because you’re interruption and interference free.

Furthermore, does the name Pavlov ring a bell? If you commit to only working on your priority project in your Third Place; it sets up a ritualistic cocoon of concentration where you walk in, sit down and the faucet of flow opens up. The words will come out so fast, your fingers will hardly be able to keep up.

Many clients tell me their Third Place is their saving grace. It's the only time they're able to temporarily escape their other responsibilities and maketheirpersonal priority their top priority.

4. Announce an email sabbatical.

What are you here to do?  Are you frittering time away on things that won't matter in the long run?

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Create an “Out of Office” response so people emailing you receive a friendly yet clear, “Thank you for getting in touch. I am working on my ( … fill in the blank …) this (Day? Week? Month?) and will be answering emails once a week each Monday. If this is an emergency or business communication, please contact my assistant who will happily help you. Thank you for understanding. I’m excited about finishing this (what project?) and look forward to launching it into the world. Your support is appreciated.”

5. Establish an across-the-board policy you won’t meet people for meals on weekdays. Or, offer to meet for a walk-talk in a park so you get outside, stay fit AND stay connected with friends.

You may worry you’re going to offend someone by taking yourself off the grid. You might want to ask yourself, “Am I supporting, everyone else’s priorities … at the cost of my own?” It is our responsibility to think big on our behalf … and to think long on our behalf.

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What is the long-term cost of being available to other people 24/7? I am not suggesting we become a hermit. W.S. Merwin isn’t a hermit; he is simply selective about how often he takes time away from his work to be available to the public. He simply balances demands on his attention with his dedication to his poetry – which keeps the light on in his eyes and keeps him contributing at his highest level.

How about you? Is this the year you get your dream project out of your head and into the world where it can make a positive difference for others and a prosperous living for you?

My mom used to tell me, "A year from now, you'll wish you had started today." True dat.

You might want to print this out and post it where you'll see it every day to remind yourself that the ball is in your court to focus on what matters most ... today and every day, not someday.

Want more tips on how to F.O.C.U.S on what you want, when you want? Click here.

five ways to focus Want these techniques taught to your employees or association members? You're invited to contact my business manager Cheri Grimm at to discuss your group's priorities and to arrange for Sam to speak at your conference.

Look Closer

life is postponed text imageDo you know one of the biggest lessons I've learned as a result of my Year by the Water and from 20 years of researching, writing and speaking about attention, concentration and focus? The quality of our life is directly proportionate to our quality of attention. 

Yet, as explained in Got Your Attention? … goldfish have longer attention spans than we do.

I’m not making that up. That’s from research by Harvard professor Nancy F. Koehn. Goldfish = 9 seconds. Human beings = 8 seconds.

What that means is we tend to rush through life distracted, impatient, perpetually on to the next thing.

At work, we're constantly interrupted and besieged with conflicting priorities.

We rarely really focus on anything. As a result, we don’t really connect.

The good news? There’s an antidote to this.

Three times a day, take three minutes to do this simple ConZentration Look Closer Exercise. Simply stop what you’re doing and really SEE who you’re talking to, SEE what you’re doing.

As soon as you do, you will feel a newfound appreciation for that person or activity. You will find yourself really listening to that person. You'll find yourself more deeply engaged in that task. It’s amazing how accessible focused connection is. It is, literally and figuratively, a moment’s NOTICE away.

I’ve collected my six favorite quotes about seeing – with some added comments – and share them here. They're excerpted from Got Your Attention? (which Marshall Goldsmith says is a "must for every leader") and from ConZentrate – a book I wrote about how to stay focused in an unfocused world and which Dr. Stephen Covey endorsed as "Remarkable, thought-provoking, fascinating, motivating"

Hope you find them thought-provoking. You might even want to post a favorite quote where you’ll see it every day as a reminder to stop and really SEE who you’re talking to, SEE what you’re doing.

Taking the time to stop and SEE who you're with and what you're doing is the first step to creating SerenDestiny - a life where the light is on in your eyes.  It's the key to being IN your life and fully experiencing it rather than rushing through it and looking back with regrets, wondering where it went.  It’s the first step to staying focused at work instead of feeling constantly frazzled and frenetic.

Six Quotes on How to SEE Your Way to Improved Focus and Connection

1. The first words of our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, are, “Oh, say, can you see…” The real question is, “Oh, say do you see…”

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2. “Nobody sees a flower, really, it is so small, we haven’t time, and to see takes time.” – Georgia O’Keefe As mentioned, to see takes time and intent. We must give our mind an order and decide to focus our attention on THIS thing for THIS amount of time.

3. “Develop interest in life, in people, things, literature, music. The world is simply throbbing with rich treasure, beautiful souls, fascinating people.” – Henry Miller There is no excuse, ever, for being bored. That is simply a lack of imagination and a lack of really seeing the miracles that surround us every single day.

4. “Life is postponed until further notice.” -Sam Horn The quality of your life is directly proportionate to the quality of your attention and connection.  Put yourself on NOTICE now.

5. “When the eye wakes up to see again, it suddenly stops taking anything for granted.” – Frederick Franck The second you really SEE someone or something; you’re flooded with renewed appreciation. Attention = appreciation.

6. “The whole of life lies in the verb seeing.” – Teilhard de Chardin Every time I see this quote, something deep within me says, “YES, emphatically YES.” Not seeing = not connecting.   Fully seeing = fully connecting.

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Want more? Check out Sam’s books – Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? which Marshall Goldsmith calls "a must for every leader" and ConZentrate which Dr. Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) endorsed as “Remarkable, fascinating, thought-provoking, motivating.”

Or, contact to arrange for Sam Horn to present her GOT FOCUS? keynote to your convention or corporate meeting. Discover for yourself why her programs on how to focus and concentrate have received excellent ratings from NASA, been featured on NPR; and how they can help your employees be more focused, mindful, connected and productive at work.

What Are You Paying Attention To?

"Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you you you are." - Jose Ortega y Gasset Do you ever get discouraged by man's inhumanity to man?

It can be discouraging to watch the news and witness yet another tragedy, scandal or man-made disaster.

Yet complaining about it or being outraged by it hurts rather than helps ... unless we actively try to improve it.

Unfortunately, we can't always change or improve what's happening on the world stage. We feel powerless to make things better.

The good news is, there is a way to make things better. Paying attention to what's right in the world can improve the quality of life for us and everyone around us.

The challenge is, many of us have become so busy, stressed, angry or outraged, we no longer even notice man's HUMANITY to man.

This point was brilliantly made in an article by Gene Weingarten in the Washington Post years ago.  I remember reading this on a Sunday morning years ago when I lived in Reston, VA. I was so inspired by his thought-provoking essage, I set the magazine down and said out loud, "Just give the man the Pulitzer."

Weingarten wondered, “What would happen if you took a renowned violinist and positioned him inside a D.C Metro Stop during morning rush hour?

What if you asked him to play six compositions, each 'masterpieces that have endured for centuries,' and asked him to play these symphonies on a rare Stradivarius?

Would any of the hundreds of people streaming by take a moment to pay attention to a free concert by “one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made?”

In the 45 minutes Joshua Bell played, (yes, the Joshua Bell who packs them in at concert halls around the globe), only seven (!) people paid any attention to his performance. The other 1070 people all rushed by, seemingly oblivious to the miracle in their midst.

Weingarten’s point?

There were several. One of which was to quote W.H. Davies who said, “‘What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stop and stare.’

At what cost are we so uptight and driven, that we have lost the ability to see the beauty around us?”

Another intriguing insight from Weingarten, “There was no demographic pattern to distinguish the few people who stopped to watch Bell from the majority who hurried past.  

But every time a child walked past, s/he tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.”

Hmmm.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Kudos to Gene Weingarten for his visionary social experiment Pearls Before Breakfast.

Please take the time to read the article and ask yourself, “Would I have taken a moment to listen to Bell?  Why or why not?  Have I become inured to the beauty around me?"

Starting today, vow to focus on, and contribute to, what’s right with your world instead of what’s wrong.

Instead of dwelling on the news, which primarily reports man’s inhumanity to man, choose to give your attention to what’s uplifting, inspiring and enlightening.

Choose to notice and thank the people who are making a positive difference ... the parents, teachers, entrepreneurs, servers, community leaders who treat others with respect and are dedicated to living in integrity and adding value.

When you choose to honor and BE humanKIND - you expand it.

And when we expand humanKIND - we create a rising tide raising all humans.

Want another example of humanKIND?

Have you heard about Eric Whitacre? Have you ever had the chicken-skin experience of singing in a choir or hearing a concert of hundreds of voices lifted in song?

Well, Eric thought, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could gather people from around the world - online - and conduct a “virtual choir” with several thousand people from 58 countries … all singing the same song at the same time?"

Take a few moments to listen to the transcendent results of Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2 "Water Night."  

Do it right now.  Really.  Don't "pass by" this offering of man's humanity to man.

I promise, for the moments you listen to this, you will be swept up in human harmony.

You will experience the joy that happens when people choose to come together in collaboration rather than conflict. 

You will be immersed in what's right with our world, right here, right now.

And by experiencing this example of human-KIND, you’ll see the world in a more positive and proactive light.

And every single time we do that, every time we pay attention to and contribute to the beauty in the world, we create a new narrative that elevates and celebrates what's right instead of what's wrong.